Top 25 Nigerian Books in 2013

With over 500 languages and over 240 ethnic groups, Nigeria is a mesmerizing place for any writer to write about, and the country boasts some of the greatest authors in African literature. The first person from an African country to win the Nobel Prize for Literature was Nigerian playwright and poet Wole Soyinka in 1986. Nigerian Chinua Achebe’s Things Fall Apart, published in 1958, is still one of the most widely read book in African literature. The first African author to win the Orange Prize for Fiction was Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie with her novel Half of a Yellow Sun in 2007, and the first Booker Prize awarded to an African author went to Nigerian Ben Okri’s The Famished Road in 1991. Evidently, Nigeria has a very rich literary tradition, which continues to this day.

There’s no better way to begin the new year than with books. But before that, we need to take a retrospective look at the titles that resonated most in 2013.

Those Books can be purchase at major booksellers across the nation or at www.sunshinebookseller.com
  •  Americanah

Author: Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

Americanah is an incredibly readable and rich tapestry of Nigerian and American life. It is an extremely thoughtful, subtly provocative exploration of the structural inequality of different kinds of oppression, gender roles, and idea of a home.

  • Love is Power or Something Like That

Author: Igoni Barret

 Love is power or something like that is a collection of Barrett’s debut short story collection. It offers vibrant tales of modern-day Nigeria. Barrett has distinctively and vividly captured the restless energy of Lagos in this book. 

  • Indigo  

Author: Molara Wood

Indigo is made up of seventeen stories which have all been vetted externally and subjected to rigorous editorial reviews. Many of the stories are award-winning and have been previously published in reputable journals and books. The book takes off, starting with Indigo, the title story, a touching tale about childlessness, societal expectations and culture clashes.
  • The Sahara Testaments  

Author: Tade Ipadeola

The Sahara Testaments is a collection of poetry which is remarkable in its blending of elements from two traditions. The audacity of Tade Ipadeola’s ambitions spills over the boundaries of his central trope, the Sahara desert, to encompass nothing less than an entire continent. The book won the 2013 NLNG Prize for Literature -  Africa’s biggest literary award in monetary terms

  • Bom Boy  

Author: Yewande Omotosho

Bom Boy is a well-crafted and complex narrative written with a sensitive understanding of both the smallness and magnitude of a single life. It is a story of a young man living in the suburbs of Cape Town who develops strange habits of stalking people, stealing small objects and going from doctor to doctor in search of companionship rather than cure.

  • The Thread of Gold Beads

Author: Nike Campbell-Fatoki

Thread of Gold Beads takes its readers to 1890s Africa, in the middle of a war. It is a story of war, which blends history, drama, love, betrayal and hope; it is a story of a little girl who grew up to be a strong woman amidst her trials. Nike weaves a beautiful tale which encourages and challenges us to pursue our dreams in spite of the obstacles we may face.
  • A Bit of Difference

Author: Sefi Atta

A Bit of Difference limns the complexities of our contemporary world. Atta, winner of the Wole Soyinka Prize for African Literature for Everything Good Will Come (2006), delivers on the promise of her well-received early work with this book which at a time was an American successor to classic Nigerian literature and a commentary on how the English-speaking world reads Africa.

  • The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and Other Sorry Tales  

Author: Ayo Sogunro 

The Wonderful Life of Senator Boniface and other Sorry Tales is a collection of fourteen contemporary short stories, interspersed with poetry, exploring themes of human nature in general, and Nigerian social psychology in particular.

  • The Accidental Public Servant

Author:  Nasir El Rufai

This is a story of Nigeria, told from the inside. In this tell-all memoir, El-Rufai reflects on a life in public service to Nigeria, the enormous challenges faced by the country, and what can be done while calling on a new generation of leaders to take the country back from the brink of destruction. 

  • The Tragedy of Victory

Author: Alabi Godwin Isama

The Tragedy of Victory is a book written by Brigadier General Alabi Isama, providing the inside knowledge and information about the separatist war in Nigeria from 1967- 1970. Many books have been published about the war, since the combatants laid down their weapons in 1970. Yet, none has provided vital information about the conception, execution and end of the Nigeria- Biafra war. None as been backed by facts, evidences, witnesses, none was ever illustrated with photographs, maps and monuments like the Tragedy of Victory.

  • Soldiers of Fortune

Author: Max Siollun

This book is the story of Nigeria’s political journey between January 1, 1984 and August 27, 1993. It is the story of how things fell apart. It is one of the most intriguing, fact based narration of the events of those years written by one of the most passionate emerging historians of modern Nigeria. 

  • There Was a Country: A Personal History of Biafra

Author: Chinua Achebe

There Was a Country is a distillation of vivid first hand observation and forty years of research and reflection. Achebe broke the story in this book into four parts that roughly covers the personal and political arc of his life’s story. He addressed his people, his country, the world; he took on the role of a statesman rather than a storyteller.

  • Harmattan Haze on An African Spring  

Author: Wole Soyinka

In this book, Soyinka argues that all claims that Africa has been explored are as premature as news of her imminent demise. A truly illuminating exploration of Africa has yet to take place. It does not pretend to take place even on the pages of this book, being content with retrieving a few grains for germination from the wasteful threshing floor of Africa’s existential totality.

  • June 12 Annulment

Author: Abraham Oshoko

June 12 Annulment is rendered in the form of a graphic novel with illustrations beautifully wrought. Liberties were obviously taken with creating the intense dramatic scenes but the fidelity of the story remains the same as the author captures the climatic moments of the period (June to December 1993) that makes up the scope of this volume. For the first time ever, the full story of what really happened in those tumultuous days, with its intricacies, intrigue and complexities, is told from the perspectives of all its major players, in this full-colour graphic novel.

  • Jokes Apart: How Did I get Here?

Author: Julius Agwu 

This Book is a chronicle of one young man’s journey to discovery, his coming of age and realization of his God’s-given potentials.  This book which is Julius Agwu’s autobiography will make you laugh and cry as you read about his days of hunger and how he squatted his way through Lagos propelled by unequivocal belief in himself, his talent and his God.

  • The Ghost of Sani Abacha

Author: Chuma Nwokolo

The Ghost of Sani Abacha is a collection of 26 stories which has its setting in Nigeria. Contrary to its title, the book is not about Sani Abacha, the late president of the country, but rather it’s a witty and satirical look at everyday human life occurrences. From these stories, Nwokolo brings to life various issues pertinent to life such as love, betrayal, jealousy, greed, power and pride. It is a narrative of misshapen pasts and the presents surrounding our societal ills.

  • Under a Darkling Sky

Author: Isaac Attah Ogezi

Under a Darkling Sky dramatizes the life and times of Ken Saro-Wiwa, the renowned environmental activist-cum-writer, who placed his community far above his individual life, and eventually paid the supreme price by dying for his Ogoni people in the Niger Delta region of the West African nation-state called Nigeria. Ken Saro-Wiwa was tried by a kangaroo military tribunal, the Ogoni Civil Disturbances Tribunal, convicted and sentenced along with eight other Ogonis to be hanged on trumped-up charges of complicity and incitement of the deaths of four Ogoni elders in May, 1994.

  • Fine Boys

Author: Eghosa Imasuen

Warri, October 1992: Seething with idleness and nonchalance, sick of watching his parents fight, 16-year-old Ewaen is waiting for university to begin, waiting for something to happen. Months later, Ewaen and friends are finally enrolled as freshmen at the University of Benin. Their routine now consists of hanging out in a parking lot trading jibes, chasing girls and sex, and learning to manage the staff strikes and crumbling infrastructure. But Nigerian campuses in the 1990s can be dangerous places, too. Violent confraternities stake territories and stalk for new recruits. An incident of petty crime snowballs into tragedy… Fine Boys is Eghosa Imasuen’s second novel. In the witty, colloquial style fast becoming his trademark, Imasuen presents everyday Nigerian life against the backdrop of the pro-democracy riots of the 1980s and ‘1990s, the lost hopes of June 12th, and the terror of the Abacha years. Indeed Fine Boys is a chronicle of not just a time in Nigeria, but its post-Biafran generation. Fine Boys was first published in e-book format in September, 2011.

  • The Lore of Karmalu

Author: Azubuike Eyes Okoro

Drawing a thin line between fact and fiction; this tale proves that reality can be more DRAMATIC than any fiction. A transcendental concept of retribution that cuts across the oriental, western, and eastern cultures of the world. Artistically portrayed here in popular culture and for POSTERITY. The Lore of Karmalu is a metaphysical gift from the Igbo people of West Africa to the world. The individual versus the society; morality is put to test in the sociopolitical arena of the largest black nation. Accentuated by an abstraction of graphic illustrations, this story takes the imagination to uncanny dimensions. The author blends the three forms of writing: Poetry, Prose and Drama into a seamless story telling device; a style he calls his own.

  • City of Memories

Author: Richard Ali

City of Memories follows four characters negotiating the effect of various traumas. Towering above them is the story of Ummi al-Qassim, a princess of Bolewa, and the feud that attended her love—first for a nobleman, then for a poet—a feud that bequeaths her with madness and death. All four are bracketed by the modern city of Jos in Central Nigeria, where political supremacy and perverse parental love become motives for an ethno-religious eruption calculated to destroy the Nigeria State

  • The Secret Lives of Baba Segi’s Wives

Author: Lola Shoneyin

 For a polygamist like Baba Segi, his collection of wives and a gaggle of children are the symbol of prosperity, success and validation of his manhood. Everything runs reasonably smoothly in the patriarchal home, until wife number four intrudes on this family romance.

  • I Do Not Come to You By Chance

Author: Adaobi Tricia Nwaubani

Have you ever wondered who’s really behind all those Nigerian scam emails promising you untold riches? Meet Kingsley Ibe and the dangerous yet fascinating world of Nigerian 419 scams. This book is incredibly funny—at times I laughed out loud reading it—but it also shows the industry’s darker side, exploring why people might decide to enter the criminal world in the first place.

  • Oil on Water

Author: Helon Habila

Oil on Water is Habila’s third novel and tells the story of two journalists in pursuit of the kidnapped European wife of an oil executive. It is a pessimistic but must-read novel that highlights the ongoing tragedy of the environmental degradation of the Niger delta and the Ogoni people.

  • You Are One of Them

Author: Uwem Akpan 

A collection of five short stories, each written from the point of view of a child, and each set in a different African country. It is not an easy book to read, and the stories will haunt you long after you finish them.

In Dependence

Sarah Ladipo Manyika

I fell in love with Manyika’s characters: Tayo, a Nigerian on scholarship in Oxford and Vanessa, a British colonial officer’s daughter. A touching and bittersweet cross-cultural love story set in the 1960s.

How many of these books have you read? What do you have to say about them? Use the comment box below.


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